The Story Behind This Nude Art Model Oil on Canvas
Is it any wonder “life class” or drawing from the nude model, is any first year art students required class? For centuries artist have painted the nude for many reasons. The challenge of drawing from the live model, is perhaps the fastest way to learn drawing, painting, flesh tones, proportions, composition,and on and on. I have been painting nudes for over 50 years, and every time I approach a new canvas, it’s a different challenge. The light, the pose, the amount of time the model will be holding the pose, the combination of flesh tones, and the background are all factors to consider before lifting a brush.
This particular painting was a one hour painting, broken into 3-20 minute sessions. The model was a professional model, that posed for all the art associations in the area. It’s always a joy to work with a seasoned model, who knows what the artist requires for each individual painting.
This model had very dark brown hair, and translucent flesh tones. The light was natural north light coming from a high window. This light was a beautiful silvery cool and brought out the models delicate flesh tones.
The background was a dark variation of drapes hanging off of the screen she was standing in front of. She was on a model stand about 24 inches from the floor, and she had a dancers body. Needless to say, it was very toned after years of hard serious work on the dance floor.
After several warm-up poses, we decided on this standing pose. The magenta ribbon in her hair was a nice touch, and added some “eye candy” to the painting.
When a model has this type of very white skin, the body reflects any of the colors around it like a mirror. This is very different than a bronze tanned model, with lots of warms in the shadows, and a cool north light source.
I started out by trying to capture the gesture of the pose with a thinned out neutral paint. I used Utrecht oil paints for this piece, and Grumbacher white hog bristol brushes, of the Gainsborough series, and painted on a Fredrix white canvas. It is so important for artist to use the very best materials they can afford, because inferior materials will make an artist think they can’t accomplish a certain passage in a painting, when the truth of the matter is the poor materials just can’t deliver!
I tried to keep this painting “loose” meaning not too detailed, and more “artsy” looking. I wanted it to have some gesture and movement to it, rather than a stagnant still pose.
The final highlights, and darkest darks were applied, and at this point, every artist has to have the discipline to put the brush down, and not put it to sleep,by over working it!
It was time for a signature, and a nice cabernet.
This is a painting of a nude art model that I created. The painting was an enjoyable piece to create and the model was great to work with. I really enjoy creating nude artwork like any chance I get. See below for details on the piece.